The Capitol Showband


The Capitol Showband | Irish Showbands | tc177

Argo Records believed in variety, with issues from many strands of music and from many sources; in 1965 they issued a single, “Born To Be With You/Far, Far Away” on Argo 5502. The Capitol Showband were an Irish showband who were at the peak of their success, having been chosen to represent Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest (Ireland’s first). The recording was licenced from Pye Records in the UK. The recording was produced by Phil Coulter. The Showband’s lead singer was Butch Moore and the Showband had already appeared on American television, having toured in 1961. Butch Moore died of a heart attack in April 2001.

Sun Records and Chess


The Prisonaires recording or broadcasting live at radio station WSOK | NPR | tc201

NPR highlights the formation of Sun Records in Memphis, who when they first started leased much of their output to Chess.

NPR – The dawn of Sun records

Rusty York

Rusty York | Home of the Hits | tc136

Charles Edward “Rusty” York was born on May 24, 1935 and is still living. Mainly known for his Rockabilly song “Sugaree”, York became interested in the business and recording side of the industry and formed Jewel Records, which he sold in 2008 when he retired to Florida.

Memphis Slim


Memphis Slim | Billboard | tc020

John Len Chatman (Memphis Slim) was born on September 3, 1915 and died in Paris, France on February 24, 1988 of renal failure. He made more than 500 recordings. The recordings issued by Chess were actually made for and first issued on Premium Records; the masters were acquired by Chess after Premium failed. He moved to Paris in 1962 and lived there permanently, becoming a Commander in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of the Republic of France.

The Miracles

The Miracles, photographed in 1962. Copyright details being sought | tc044

The Miracles, one of the most successful soul vocal groups of the 1960s into the 1970s, were formed in 1955. They were originally known as The Five Chimes and the Matadors before settling on the Miracles name in 1958. They had a number of records released before their first hit record “Bad Girl” which was produced by Berry Gordy. Gordy did not originally have national distribution for his new company, so the masters were leased to Chess Records for national distribution. The line up on “Bad girl”, which was recorded in 1959, is thought to be: Ronnie White, Pete Moore, Smokey Robinson, Robert and Claudette Rogers and Marvin Tarplin.

Ronnie White was born on April 5, 1939 and died on August 26, 1995.
Warren Thomas “Pete” Moore was born on November 19, 1938 and died on November 19, 2017.
William “Smokey” Robinson Jr. was born on February 19, 1940.
Robert Edward “Bobby” Rogers was born on February 19, 1940 and died on March 3, 2013.
Claudette Annette Rogers Robinson was born on June 20, 1942.
Marvin Tarplin, not pictured, was born on June 13, 1941 and died on September 30, 2011.

Chess Treasures

Back in the 1960s my local record shop, which was in a basement, got flooded, and some of the LPs in stock got a bit damp – so I managed to get a copy of an LP on the legendary Chess label, “Pieces of Chess”, which had been lovingly curated by the late Mike Raven, for just ten bob. The cover had dried out and the record inside the sleeve was untouched.

The Chess label ran from the 1940s to the 1970s and put out hundreds of classic blues, jazz, jump, rhythm and blues, soul, gospel and rock records. Some of them were produced by Chess themselves; some of them were leased and some of them were picked up from other smaller local companies for national and international distribution. The contribution to music made by Chess Records is enormous.

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Leonard, Phil and Marshall Chess. Copyright details being sought